Artificial Intelligence and Digital Ontology between Literary Visions, Technological Perspectives and Legal Challenges

Head: Paola Carbone, Andrea Carignani, Vanessa Gemmo, Giuseppe Rossi

Year 2019

The research aims to investigate the challenges of artificial intelligence to the concepts of 'volition' and 'identity' from an interdisciplinary point of view.
It is undeniable that we have entered a phase of digital culture as seductive as it is difficult to define, although it is variously described by scientists, philosophers, artists and writers. Where the categories of human, transhuman and posthuman help to culturally decode the frames of reference of the technological society, the new man-machine relations (see 5G, Internet of Things, machine and deep learning) are going to transform forever our lifestyles and behaviours, or at least this is what we are made to believe. In the common imagination, on the one hand, AI would come to 'help' us, but, on the other hand, one of its possible effects would consist in the control of human society, with systematically discriminating and unfair consequences (see commercial use of personal data, role of algorithms in the production and distribution of sensitive information, etc.).
While the concept of equity must be reconsidered, AI evokes the need for a revision of the fundamental principles of 'legal subject' and 'object of right' based on 'volition', in the sense of the capacity to form and express a will that has legal consequences.
While scientists and technologists must make clear the contours of the real possibilities offered today by scientific and technological evolution, law and literature enjoy privileged perspectives on an ontologically and epistemologically uncertain situation. In fact, an ethical use of AI (roboethics) should be guaranteed today.